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Paul Kitson: Quad Bikes: Calls for greater regulation and mandatory training.

Quad bikes, four wheeled all terrain vechicles (ATV), were primarily designed for use in the agriculture, horticulture or forestry sectors but are now widely used for leisure activities.  An ATV is only permitted on a road if it is registered with the DVLA, has a number plate and has a minimum of third party insurance. Because ATVs are primarily used off road and often never taken on to a road there is a danger that riders do not have sufficient expertise or ability to handle these vehicles. Even an experienced motorist or motorcyclist is at risk of overturning an ATV. The Health & Safety Executive has issued guidance on safe working practices to be adopted when using ATVs and this includes the following:1. Wearing suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and this includes a crash helmet, eye protection eg a visor or safety glasses, protective boots and gloves as well as wearing non-snag outer clothing.
2. Do not carry passengers on a quad bike unless it has been specifically designed and is suitable for that purpose.
3. Carry out essential pre-start checks to the vehicle including brake operation and tyre condition. 
4. Adopt safe driving techniques including the following: 
• Driving with due care and attention at all times
• Be aware of other forest users
• Only select routes which are within the capabilities of the rider 
• Use speeds appropriate to the terrain 
• Position the body to increase stability on slopes
• Route planning, avoid severe slopes and unstable ground conditions 
• Always survey deep vegetation to identify hidden obstructions  In 1998 Rik Mayall, the comedian/actor, was almost killed when his ATV landed on top of him at his farm. The rock star Ozzie Osborne suffered multiple personal injuries in an accident at his Buckinghamshire home in 2003 when he lost control of his ATV.  The HSE indicate that on average 2 people die each year in ATV accidents and there are also estimated to be more than 1,000 serious injuries a year.  I am of the view that all ATVs whether they are designed for on or off road use should be registered with DVLA, have number plates and compulsory third party insurance.  Training along the lines of the HSE guidance ought to be mandatory. There is also need for proper regulation of activity centres who hire out ATV including adequate training and the provision of protective equipment.Paul Kitson is a partner in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker, and also head of the Personal Injury department. Paul specialises in cycling accident claims. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.